The steam engine at Middleport Pottery

If you have already taken a Middleport Pottery factory tour you will have seen the Victorian steam engine.

Our latest ambitious project is to restore and conserve the steam engine and show how this unique piece of historic machinery once powered the entire production of Burleigh pottery – from clay to cup.

In 2015, we have embarked on an amazing conservation journey and plan to have the steam engine running again by the spring of 2016 for everyone to enjoy. The public will be able to observe the intricate workings of the mechanical heart that once powered the Pottery and with it, an important part of British ceramics history. There will be conservation talks, volunteering opportunities, student placements, events and many more activities during the restoration work so visitors can see the conservation process first-hand.

Restoring the steam engine to its original glory represents the missing piece that would complete the visitor attraction and heritage interpretation programme at Middleport Pottery. Visitors will see a real steam engine function within its purpose-built context, rather than in a museum setting like many others. We want the working steam engine to become emblematic of Middleport Pottery’s new life as a visitor destination and the regeneration of the wider area.

This year, we have raised £167,000 to pay for the restoration of this amazing piece of machinery. Thanks to the support of several generous funders, £149,000 had already been gathered by July, leaving £18,608 to be raised through a 100-day crowdfunding appeal that was launched that month. We successfully raised the £18,600 needed by the end of September – two weeks ahead of schedule. Thanks for all your support!

The restoration of the engine began in October 2015. We hope that the revived engine will be back up and running by late spring 2016.